In the month of July, the spotlight is certainly on the brilliant scarlet gem we all know and love – the ruby. With its quintessential radiance, ruby has been adding to beauty of jewellery pieces for centuries, the gem prized for its eye-catching hue. 

Here, we take a look at what exactly lie behind the jewel’s allure, with this special feature on the evolution of the ruby. 

Taking a step back in time 

The ruby has a long and illustrious history – even its name is shrouded in reverence, with the Sanskrit word for ruby, ‘rataraj’, meaning ‘the king of gems’. In addition, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) also recounts the Ancient Hindu tradition of offering rubies to the god Krishna, in exchange for being reincarnated as an emperor in their next life. 

The name of the gem stems all the way back to the Latin word for red, ‘ruber‘, with the ruby being mentioned by Roman scholar, Pliny, in his acclaimed Natural History volumes. 


Historic milestones 

With the price of fine quality rubies increasing with their weight, or carat, it’s no surprise that a rare specimen of a 6.02 carat ruby ring fetched an eye-watering US$551,000 per carat in 2012. As reported by the GIA, the sale of the ruby jewellery at auction set a new record for coloured gemstones. 

Not just for ornamentation, without the ruby, we wouldn’t have had the world’s first working laser, created back in 1960 using the gem. 

Exotic origins 

Fine rubies often form in marble at places such as Myanmar and northern Vietnam, as well as the Himalayas, according to the GIA. The Institute explains that with the low level of iron found in marble deposits, it results in the rubies having a vivid red colour.  

Furthermore, rubies can be found throughout South East Asia as well as in parts of Africa. 

The meaning behind the ruby 

There have been many accounts throughout the ages about the various properties the ruby may possess. Bible references to the gem associate it with qualities such as wisdom, while the ruby is also thought to have been a protection charm – Burmese warriors were even thought to have carried the stones into battle with them.  

These days, the ruby’s enigmatic glow has been attributed other qualities. The American Gem Society sums it up with this;

“Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love.”

If your special someone has a birthday in July, don’t forget you can always spoil them with the stunning ruby and diamond ring.